I don’t care about influencing voters and politicians; it won’t change anything that matters. I’d rather seek God’s influence on my thinking. I want His favor so that I can ask for things He is likely to do. That’s how to make real changes in this world.
The difference between debate and comparing notes is obvious to anyone. Debaters would prefer to change your mind by reason and logic; failing that, they are exceedingly quick to pour on the condemnation. The unspoken objective is to demonstrate their superiority, despite all the blather about appealing to reason. The siren call of reason is to build up your fallen self; it’s taken for granted that there’s nothing wrong with pride of that sort. Humility can, at best, be only a put-on with debaters.
Have you ever noticed how reason militates against moral conviction? That’s because reason stops at the boundary line of this fallen realm of existence. Moral conviction comes down from God’s hand and dispels the shadows of this world. In that sense, conviction is one way. You cannot rewrite convictions by reason; that simply shuts down your mind against conviction. We aren’t militant, but genuine mysticism is far more powerful than human reason that stands on its own. We seek to have reason serve ultimate moral truth.
It’s fine for someone to mask their identity online. There are so very many predators out there on the Net. However, when people come to you seeking to discuss faith and there is no plausible reason for them to wear a virtual mask — when it seems they are protecting themselves from you — don’t take them too seriously. Their mission is dirty. You may still be able to help them, but be wary. Sincere seekers will always try to divulge some sense of who they are; they’ll be eager to fellowship and hear back from you.
In the end, we cannot even trust ourselves completely, because our own fallen nature will betray us. A certain amount of cynicism about the face in the mirror will help you offer a more righteous cynicism to everyone else.
If you doubt that we will come under attack, you are fooling yourself. It’s not necessary to run around life with a persecution chip on your shoulder, but our Enemy is a prowling lion, says the Scripture (1 Peter 1:5-11). It’s a lion tactic for the old male to flush out the game for the young. He’s toothless, but his roar can shatter your confidence in God’s truth. He won’t do anything to you that you don’t allow. Your safe boundaries are not any self-will, but the revealed Law of God. But the attacks will come, and not just to me on this blog, but each of you who leave a link via comments and likes are subject to some kind of attack. Maybe not today, but sometime down the road.
I honestly believe the biggest threat vector to us as a virtual parish is also our biggest strength. It’s the one thing we all share: our virtual presence on the Net. If you don’t think you can handle it, keep a low profile. I won’t blame you for being reticent; I’ve faced a lot of crap myself online. If you find that this forum is important to you, then start taking steps to learn and protect your virtual presence. Use good technology and practices. I’ll do what I can to assist, but I don’t know everything. Take your own path and build your own hedges. We are just now starting to see the potential for virtual destruction through the use of cyber warfare.
But in the end, if God wants you online, listen to Him and trust Him to guide your choices to His glory. He is God of the network, too.
Finally, let me reiterate once more that you cannot give much attention to the mainstream media, online or through some other form of communication. Don’t let the mainstream steer your thoughts. They do it as much by teaching you to ignore things that would surprise you as they do by promoting a false idea. They seek to steer our thinking in paths they approve. Their mythology will destroy faith by constructing a frame of reference that blocks your mind from hearing the truth from your heart.